March 16, 2012 9:58pm PT by Todd Gilchrist
SXSW 2012: 'Rainbow Connection' Composer Paul Williams Working on Daft Punk's New Album
Although music listeners today are in many cases less familiar with him than his expansive body of work, Paul Williams is an iconic singer-songwriter responsible for many of the biggest pop hits of the 1970s and '80s. After producing hits for Three Dog Night ("An Old Fashioned Love Song"), The Carpenters ("We’ve Only Just Begun"), Barbra Streisand ("Evergreen," which earned him an Academy Award for Best Song) and The Muppets ("Rainbow Connection") among many others, he’s set to collaborate with one of this generation’s iconic artists: Daft Punk.
PHOTOS: The Scene at SXSW 2012
Following a screening of Paul Williams Still Alive, a documentary about his life and career which screened several times at the 2012 South by Southwest film festival, Williams revealed that he’s been working with the French duo on their follow-up to the TRON: Legacy soundtrack. “I’ve been working with Daft Punk, yeah,” he told THR earlier this week. “I’ve written a couple of tunes on their next album.”
Comparing it to his past work with writers such as Kenneth Ascher, not to mention icons like Streisand, he said of the experience, “It was working with another composer writing lyrics for them. But I don’t want to talk about the specifics of the album.”
Although Williams initially volunteered the information in a q&a after a screening of Stay Alive held earlier in the festival, he was reluctant to ooffer too many details about their work together. “I feel like I don’t want to talk about the stuff that I’m doing with them, because they want a press blackout on the album until it’s out,” he said. “So I should basically not be talking about it at all.”
“But I just think they’re an amazingly brilliant,” Williams added. “The way they explore the possibilities of sound. And I’m also totally attracted to the fact that they choose to do it anonymously. I think that’s fantastic.” After spending years as a staple on talk shows, Williams indicated he could appreciate their efforts to avoid the spotlight as celebrities. “They’re behind masks, and their true visual identity is something for the most part they’ve kept from the stage experience – which has its own appeal at this point of my life.”
Williams didn't offer any other details, but at the SXSW q&a he indicated that the album might run up in stores as soon as June 2012.